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Category: politics

The Idaho STEM Action Center has awarded 72 grants worth more than $130,000 to schools, districts, libraries, and out-of-school and youth-enrichment programs statewide to advance science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.

The organization, part of the Executive Office of the Governor, awarded a total of $133,324.66 via two grant programs: 45 PK-12 Innovative STEM Project Grants worth $106,727.70 and 27 Family & Career STEM Awareness Event Grants representing $26,596.96.

The PK-12 Innovative STEM Project Grants will fund creative science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and computer science programs that are hands-on or project-based. The grant dollars will fulfill everything from 3D-printing initiatives, robotics and drone programs, and coding instruction to acoustics, aeronautics, astronomy, aquaculture, biochemistry, biotechnology, electronics, and e-textiles projects. Applicants could request up to $2,500.

The Family & Career STEM Awareness Event Grants will fund events that engage families and community members in STEM-related activities to build awareness of and interest in STEM learning and career options. Applicants could request up to $1,000.

Demand for the grants, which the STEM Action Center began offering in 2017, remains strong. "This time total requests for our PK-12 and STEM awareness event grants exceeded $200,000," STEM Action Center executive director Dr. Angela Hemingway said. "It's a competitive process and we had to decline 36 requests -- one out of three applicants. We continue to build momentum through these programs and were able to significantly enhance our funding to communities thanks in part to Sparklight matching our funds."

She said Sparklight, formerly CableOne, contributed $10,000, which the STEM Action Center matched, supporting 20 communities collaboratively. In addition, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare provided $2,500, which the STEM Action Center also matched.

Her agency created the nonprofit Idaho STEM Action Center Foundation two years ago to offer organizations and individuals a way to make tax-deductible donations to the STEM Action Center and enhance the investment the state has made in Idaho's STEM community. The foundation is accepting donations, and to date it has received nearly $1 million through grants, gifts, and sponsorships. In total, the STEM Action Center has raised more than $3.25 million from third parties to enhance its efforts to support STEM opportunities statewide.

Offering grants to boost STEM learning opportunities is important to the future of Idaho, according to Dr. Hemingway.

She said there were more than 8,800 unfilled STEM jobs in Idaho in October and that all of Idaho's top-10 hot jobs require STEM skills: Registered nurses, physicians, software developers, information security analysts, computer support specialists, network systems managers, industrial engineers, computer systems analysts, and Web developers.

The Education Commission of the States anticipates robust job growth in Idaho STEM careers by 2027: 19 percent in computing, 11 percent in engineering, and 24 percent in advanced manufacturing, including 3D printing and design.

The Idaho Department of Labor predicts upwards of 100,000 STEM jobs will exist in Idaho by 2024. Dr. Hemingway said these jobs represent $6.5 billion in personal income and nearly $350 million in tax revenue if Idaho's workforce is poised to fill them.

PK-12 INNOVATIVE STEM PROJECT GRANT RECIPIENTS. PK-12 Innovative STEM Project Grant recipients include Ada Community Libraries Hidden Springs Branch (Boise), Basin School District (Idaho City), Bear Lake Middle School (Montpelier), Canyon Ridge High School (Twin Falls), Council School District (Council), Donald J. Hobbs Middle School (Shelley), Endeavor Elementary School (Nampa), Future Public School (Garden City), Glenns Ferry Public Library (Glenns Ferry), Harrison Elementary School (Harrison), Heyburn Elementary School (Heyburn), Hubbard Elementary School (Kuna), Jenifer Junior High School (Lewiston), Jerome School District (Jerome), John Russell Elementary School (Moscow), Joplin Elementary School (Boise), Kamiah School District (Kamiah), Kuna High School (Kuna), Madison Junior High School (Rexburg), Meadows Valley School District (New Meadows), Middleton High School (Middleton), Midway Elementary School (Menan), Mountain Home High School (Mountain Home), Mt. Harrison Junior-Senior High (Heyburn), Nampa School District (Nampa), North Elementary School (Mountain Home), Notus Elementary School (Notus), Notus Public Library (Notus), Oakley High School (Oakley), Orofino Junior / Senior High School (Orofino), Pioneer Primary School (Salmon), Project Impact STEM Academy (Kuna), Rich Stowell Consulting (McCall), Rigby High School (Rigby), Sandpoint Middle School (Sandpoint), Selkirk Outdoor Leadership & Education Inc. (Sandpoint), Southside Elementary School (Cocolalla), Sugar-Salem High School (Sugar City), Summit Elementary School (Jerome), Thomas Jefferson Charter School (Caldwell), Treasure Valley Math and Science Center (Boise), White Pine Charter School (Ammon), and Wilder Elementary School (Wilder).

FAMILY & CAREER STEM AWARENESS EVENT GRANT RECIPIENTS.

Family & Career STEM Awareness Event Grant recipients include Ada Community Libraries Hidden Springs Branch (Boise), Ada Community Libraries Victory Branch (Boise), Boise School District (Boise), Caldwell Public Library (Caldwell), Ernest Hemingway STEAM School (Ketchum), Filer Elementary School (Filer), Girl Scouts Of Silver Sage Council (Boise), Glenns Ferry Public Library (Glenns Ferry), Gooding Public Library District (Gooding), Hamer Public Library (Hamer), Hubbard Elementary School (Kuna), Idaho Falls Zoo (Idaho Falls), John Russell Elementary School (Moscow), Juliaetta Elementary School (Juliaetta), Lewiston City Library (Lewiston), Madison Junior High School (Rexburg), Nampa Public Library (Nampa), Pioneer Primary School (Salmon), Prairie River Library District (Lapwai), Project Impact STEM Academy Pi STEM Parents Project PTA (Kuna), Sherman Elementary School (Nampa), Spirit Lake Elementary School (Spirit Lake), Syringa Middle School (Caldwell), West Central Mountains Youth Advocacy Coalition (McCall), West Park Elementary School (Moscow), White Pine Elementary School (Boise), and 21st Century Community Learning Center (Nampa).

ABOUT THE IDAHO STEM ACTION CENTER. The Idaho STEM Action Center was created in 2015 because Idaho citizens are not entering the STEM pipeline fast enough to meet current and future Idaho workforce needs. Its goals are to increase access to STEM opportunities, align education and workforce needs, and amplify awareness of STEM throughout Idaho. The organization is working with industry, government, educators, and students to develop new resources and support high-quality professional-development opportunities to foster a STEM-educated workforce that ensures Idaho's continued economic prosperity. Visit STEM.Idaho.gov for more information.